Alexa . . . . .

Ted and I got “Alexa” for Christmas.  Alexa is the name of the lady hidden inside the Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker you control with your voice.  Frankly, I had never heard of Alexa – or the Echo – until our son Jason put one at the top of his Christmas list. In fact it was the only thing on his Christmas list.  I ordered it from Amazon, and that was that.  Until Christmas morning, when Alexa turned up as Jason’s gift to us also!

We are having a lot of fun with Alexa, except for one thing.  In order to “wake up” Alexa, you have to call her name first, then give a command.  The problem is . . . . . we can’t remember her name.  And I have to say Ted is worse than I am – a lot worse!

“Baby,” he yells from the family room, “what’s the name of this thing – I want to get a football score.” 

“Alexa!” I yell back.

“Yeah!  Alexa!  What’s the score of the Falcons game?”  Please know this is just an example.  If the Falcons were actually playing, he would be watching them on TV. 

Alexa says, “The Falcons are beating Washington 23 to 17, with 9 seconds left to play.”

Ted says, “Thank you, Alexa.” (seriously, he does this)

Silence from Alexa.

Me: “Ted, you have to say her name before she will answer.”

Ted: “What’s her name again?”

Me: “Alexa.”

Ted: “Alexa, thank you!”

Alexa: “That’s what I’m here for.”

I mainly use Alexa to play music.  “Alexa, play the Beach Boys.”  Alexa: “I’m shuffling Beach Boys songs now.”  And there follows an afternoon of surfing songs.  I also ask her to time things I’m cooking (yes, I have timers on the oven and microwave, but it’s more fun to say, “Alexa, set the timer for 45 minutes!”).  Alexa also gives me the weather when I ask – for anywhere in the world.  “Alexa, is it going to rain today?”  “Alexa, what’s the temp in Atlanta right now?”  She will also give me the most recent headline news, movie and book reviews, etc.

Readers, if you share your home with Alexa also, I’d love to hear what you most like her to do.  I don’t want “our” Alexa to be unfulfilled and think she’s living with a couple of complete duds!


Islanders are praying for snow!  They got a light dusting yesterday, but there’s barely enough to keep the snowmobiles running on some parts of the island, and the reality of an ice bridge this year is getting dimmer and dimmer.


Even the wonderful Meals on Snowmobiles program had to switch to REAL wheels this week because of lack of snow.  This program delivers hot  meals to shut-ins from the second Tuesday in January to the second Thursday in March.  (Photo: Jason St. Onge)


Discarded Christmas trees at British Landing await the formation of the Ice Bridge (they’re used to mark the route from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace when the ice is thick enough to cross by snowmobile).  (Photo: Pam Day)


Fog has been a visitor to the island this week, and street lights stayed on several extra morning hours.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)


Shoreline today – some unusual shore art!  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)


Further into the interior the snow is holding on a little longer.  Pam Day rode up to the airport for this shot of the runway.


Even though the island isn’t heavily covered with snow right now, it’s still a beautiful spot.  Life goes on regardless as a horse-drawn dray heads downtown past Trinity Church.  (Photo: Tom Chambers)

I was SO excited with the response to the “Throw Back Thursday” idea that I’ve decided to add a “Throw Back Tuesday” also.  That way there will be blogs three times a week until we return to Mackinac in July! 

That’s all I have today.  Oh, besides telling everyone how you might use Alexa, would anyone who’s read a really good book lately please share the title and author!  I am desperately seeking something to read!

Love y’all, have a good week . . . . and God bless.

45 thoughts on “Alexa . . . . .

  1. “No Man’s Land” by David Baldacci is what I am currently reading. I haven’t finished it yet but I really like it so far.

    I don’t have an Alexa but I hope she listens better than the telephone robots that ask for a response! Tony and I r not big on technology. We just got smart phones this past summer! Lol! I like to say we r not behind on technology, we just let other people work out the bugs first! Lol!

    Can’t wait to see Tuesday’s post!

    Hugs from Iowa!

  2. A Man called Ove.
    We gave the Alexa we received as a prize to our son for Christmas! I couldn’t think of anything to do with it…

  3. I got Alexa for my birthday in June. She plays music for me all day long, and helps me remember to get things out of the dryer when I toss them for 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out (again!!). But my favorite skill: Jeopardy! Or maybe my “un”favorite skill. I’m not as smart as I think I am!

    Current book: like Patty, “A Man Called Ove”. Halfway through and pretty good!

    • O. M. Gosh! I can’t wait to try these out – a few at a time of course. Don’t want to tax her brain too much at one time!

  4. We don’t have Alexa. Although it sounds like it is quite entertaining. I am in the middle of Jodi Piccoult’s Small Great Things. Another book of hers I loved was “the Storyteller”. That is an excellent book. Love the pictures as always!

  5. I had to go look at Alexa on youtube after reading this. She can be quite entertaining for sure and sometimes you have to be really careful what you say. Quite funny. She might have to be put on my list too. 🙂
    Love the island pictures as always…but I am ready for some warmer weather!

  6. Bree you’re spoiling us with the extra blog. YAY!!!! I look forward to it. Have a great week. And send some of that Florida sunshine here to Michigan ☀️

  7. One of my favorite books is “Diary of an Isle Royale School Teacher” by Dorothy Simonson. Although it is set on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, not Mackinac, it is a great little nonfiction read written by a woman who went with her young son to spend a winter teaching the children of Isle Royale fishermen during the Great Depression. It gives a great perspective of the bravery of people living on a remote island in the Great Lakes in winter with little contact with the outside world except occasional ham radio or boat deliveries. No airplanes, no internet, radio, tv, telephone etc. The wolves and moose on Isle Royale are some of the most interesting characters in the story! Available on Amazon.

  8. If you like mysteries you might like those by Nevada Barr. She is/was a park ranger & her books take place in various national parks, including Isle Royale; A Superior Death, and Winter Study. The latest one that I have read is Rope which is sort of a historical prequel about her main character, Anna Pigeon. That one, I think, is uncharacteristically dark. I also liked One Summer 1927 for it’s historical perspective. Another, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, also historical non fiction. Another author Steve Hamilton, a Michigan author who writes mysteries taking place mostly in Michigan. One main character series has a cabin in Paradise, MI, but ranges around the state & Canada. I have trouble getting Hamilton’s books here, but can get them from my SIL’s library as an ebook.

    • Adding these to my list, Gail, except for Hamilton. I’ve read everything he’s ever written and so has Ted. We love him!

  9. I love the commercials for Alexa but that’s all I know about it. I don’t really read novels but I just read my latest edition of the Michigan Blue magazine and they have some great short stories in there. All about Michigan of course. We had no snow here either……until today. The lake effect snow machine is on!

  10. A wonderful friend of mine gave me an Alexa for Christmas. I can just picture my husband asking her all kinds of crazy questions, trying to trick her. I use it a lot for music and as a timer but what I really like is I make my grocery list stop by just yelling to Alexa as I think of things I need. Alexa, add coffee to my shopping list. Which by the way she just did because she heard me dictating this. Anyway on your Amazon Alexa app there is a “shopping list” and a “to do list”. You can add items to either one. Then when you’re at the store just look at your phone for everything you need. I take my Alexa home with me and then bring her back to the island. Can’t live without her I guess. I’m glad you’re using some of my winter photos to keep everyone else informed of what it’s like on Mackinac Island. In my opinion it’s the best place to spend a winter, but you really do need a snowmobile. And Yvonne, I will be back on the island February 14. If you’re still here will get together for lunch. Thanks Brenda for asking for book recommendations. I can always use those.

  11. Hi Bree,

    I just wanted to drop you a line that I have just started reading Kate Morton, I have all 5 of her books, I started with The House at Riverton and am now reading Forgotten Garden. I highly recommend her. I got interested in her books after seeing them in the Island Bookstore in September. Enjoy!

    Can’t wait to hear from you 3 times a week.

    Pam Griffin

  12. I would think it would be easier without the ice bridge so the boats could get through. Though, I guess it’s easier to be able to go whenever you want.
    We don’t have Alexa so I don’t have any cool suggestions.
    I’ve started “The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder” by William Anderson. It’s a much thicker book than I anticipated. It’s good but I’m said her correspondence with her parents/sister has been lost, and her daughter burned most of theirs. But I love anything I can get.

    • The ice bridge means freedom to come and go whenever you want. Of course, there’s always a safety risk. The Coast Guard NEVER says the ice bridge is safe.

      • I’m a wimp. I don’t think I could ever trust the Ice bridge. I can see how the residents would like it.

  13. Hey Brenda I liked this blog you could substitute Mike for Ted and have the same thing happening at our house. I do like using Alexa for my music and timer will ave to start giving her my grocery list. We should be in Florida in about a week and a half. Hope the weather will be nice.

  14. My mom calls Alexa “Marsha” when we are all in the room – otherwise, Alexa will wake up and join the conversation!!

    Good book: “I Dare Me” by Luann Cohn. She was in a rut and decided to try one new thing every day for a year. It’s very interesting and a good way to jump-start the new year.

  15. Great Small Things by Jodi Picoult and don’t let Alexa order things from Amazon that you didn’t mean to!

    Lori Canole
    Administrative Assistant, Financial Services Department
    Ascension | St. Mary’s of Michigan
    800 S. Washington Avenue
    Saginaw, MI 48601
    T: 989-907-8978
    F: 989-907-7556

    • Hi Mary and thanks for being such a loyal reader! I read quite a few of the Mitford series, but it’s been several years ago. I loved them! I need to check out the new ones!

  16. I love your blog and all the photos. More dog pictures for me. I am currently reading my dog books from my youth. I have a set of dog books by Grosset & Dunlap. They have been on the bookshelf above my desktop computer and I have finished four out of about 20. Of course, I started with my favorites which are “Big Red”, “Grayfrairs Bobby”, and “Lad of Sunnybank”. “Big Red” is by Jim Kjelgaard and has illustrations by Bob Kuhn. “Greyfriars Bobby” is by Eleanor Atkinson and “Lad of Sunnybank” is by Albert Payson Terhune. Looking forward to your next blog.

  17. Hi Bree! I have a few books recommendations for you! They’re all Mackinac Island/Petoskey area inspired.
    Murder on Lake Street, Murder at Cherokee Point and Devils Are Here all by Perer Marabell, A Grand Murder by Dave Vizard, The Pink Pony by Charles Cutter and Mackinac Island Bluff by R Connelly. I have a few more but they’re packed away in storage. If a reader is familiar with the towns it’s great to visualize while reading along! Enjoy!!

  18. I’m not a reader at this stage in my life unfortunately, but scrolling through these comments makes me wish I was!

    We also were gifted an Echo for Christmas and are still getting used to it as well. I so far, like others, have only used it for the timer, music, and my shopping list. My husband is a programmer however and he is trying to come up with more ways of using it. It seems like it should be able to do much more than it does!

    I continue to enjoy the posted winter photos of the Island. I’m very thankful for the connections you have to get regular glimpses of what is going on up there. Thanks for sharing!

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